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Michael Palin, Terry Jones, John Cleese

John Cleese [16]

Born:October 27, 1939 (81)
Filmography Rating:7.06 / 10
IMDB Rating:7.47 / 10
Amazon Rating:4.14 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:74.67%
(Averages are weighted)
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List of Titles and Roles/Jobs:
Monty Python's Flying Circus: Collectors Edition Megaset [1969](30) => Writer / Various / Announcer
Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection Remastered [1975](36) => Writer / Basil Fawlty
Monty Python & the Holy Grail [1975](36) => Writer / Tim the Enchanter / Taunting French Guard / Sir Lancelot, the Brave / Peasant 3 / The Black Knight / Second Swallow-Savvy Guard
The Muppet Show: Various Episodes [1976](37) => John Cleese / Writer
The Muppet Show: Season 2 [1977](38) => Himself / Writer
The Great Muppet Caper [1981](42) => Neville
Time Bandits [1981](42) => Robin Hood
World's Funniest & Cleverest Commercials [1990](51) => Himself (archive footage)
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West [1991](52) => Cat R. Waul
The World is Not Enough [1999](60) => R
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone [2001](62) => Nearly Headless Nick
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets [2002](63) => Nearly Headless Nick
Die Another Day [2002](63) => Q
Shrek 2 [2004](65) => King
Shrek the Third [2007](68) => King (voice)
Shrek Forever After [2010](71) => King Harold (voice)

Trivia that mentions this person:
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West [1991]
  • John Cleese turned down the role of Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast to be in this film.
    Beauty and the Beast [1991]
  • The role of Cogsworth was written specifically with John Cleese in mind but he turned it down.
    Die Another Day [2002]
  • When Q (John Cleese) walks behind the invisible Aston Martin in the otherwise abandoned Underground station, due to the light refraction effect, he appears briefly to do a "silly walk".
    The Great Mouse Detective [1986]
  • John Cleese was the original choice for the role of Basil.
    Monty Python's Flying Circus: Collectors Edition Megaset [1969]
  • After three seasons of 13 episodes each, John Cleese refused to return for a fourth because he believed the show was becoming repetitious and had run out of ideas. The rest of the cast only managed to produce a final fourth season of just six episodes without him.
  • The Pythons did almost all of their own stunts, including Graham Chapman (a qualified mountaineer) reading a sketch while hanging upside-down on a rope, and Michael Palin plummeting 15 feet into a canal in {The Fish-Slapping Dance} after John Cleese smacks him in the head with a trout.
  • At least two sketches can trace their origins back to How to Irritate People, a TV special that John Cleese starred in and wrote with Graham Chapman prior to [Flying Circus]. First, the {Silly Job Interview} in which Cleese rings a bell and has people scoring Chapman's reaction came directly from the special. Also the infamous/famous {Parrot Sketch} was adapted largely from a sketch Chapman wrote for the earlier show about a car salesman who flatly refused to admit that there was anything wrong with the car that was literally falling apart on stage.
  • Following a television interview in which Graham Chapman mentioned (not for the first time) that he was a homosexual, the Pythons received a letter from an enraged woman who said she heard an "anonymous" member of Monty Python had confessed to being gay. She enclosed several pages of prayers for his salvation and said that if he repeated them every single day he might acquire some form of purgatory. Eric Idle replied to her saying that they had found out who it was and had stoned him. Shortly thereafter, John Cleese left the show for the last season. The woman never wrote back.
  • The Pythons wrote all of their sketches in teams. Cambridge graduates John Cleese and Graham Chapman wrote together, as did Oxford men Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Eric Idle, another Cambridge alumnus, wrote alone. "Links" between sketches were the only pieces written by the entire group collectively. Animator Terry Gilliam worked independently of the five core members, but joined them for writers' meetings to help them piece it all together and act as a sort of test audience.
    The Muppet Show: Various Episodes [1976]
  • In the episode with John Cleese, there is a skit in which he plays a pirate, complete with a nagging parrot/possible wife. Shortly before the end of the skit, he asks, "Do you want to be an EX-parrot?" and fires off his gun, missing the parrot. This is a reference to the infamous Parrot Sketch from Cleese's [Monty Python's Flying Circus]. Also during the sketch, Cleese says to Capt. Link Hogthrob, "Of course I'm a pirate! What did you think I was? A management consultant?" In real life, Cleese has his own company that produces management consulting films.
    Muppet Treasure Island [1996]
  • In the original script, Polly Lobster's role was played by a sultry female parrot who flirted with Silver (a similar character had been used in a sketch of [The Muppet Show] starring John Cleese as a pirate). When this got "too weird", according to Brian Henson, she was replaced with a male parrot named Stevenson (after Robert Louis Stevenson) who pointed out the changes made from book to movie. Stevenson was replaced by Polly Lobster for the film, but later showed up in the PC game based on the film.
    Shrek 2 [2004]
  • When the King of Far Far Away (John Cleese) excuses himself to go speak to the Fairy Godmother, he refers to his old injury from the crusades acting up. This is a reference to Basil Fawlty's (also Cleese) "old war wound" acting up as an excuse for his actions in the series [Fawlty Towers].
  • John Cleese and Julie Andrews recorded most of their scenes together at the same time, an unusual practice for an animated film.
    Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection Remastered [1975]
  • John Cleese (Basil Fawlty) and Connie Booth (Polly Sherman) were really husband and wife when they created and wrote the scripts for the first series. By the beginning of filming for the second season their marriage had fallen apart and they had divorced.
  • Basil and Sybil Fawlty were based on [?] Donald Sinclair and [?] Beatrice Sinclair, genuine hoteliers who ran the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay where John Cleese stayed whilst filming on location in early May 1970 with the Monty Python team. Mr Sinclair's irascible antics included: berating Terry Gilliam for eating his meals in "too American" a way; throwing Eric Idle's briefcase over a wall because of a "bomb scare" (the scare was that Idle left the briefcase in the reception area); disbelief at Michael Palin asking to pre-book the Gleneagles TV to catch a show; after Graham Chapman requested an omelet made with three eggs, Sinclair brought him an omelet with three fried eggs perched on top. When asked by Cleese to call for a taxi, he argued with Cleese and took his time calling for the cab. Mrs Sinclair later complained that the sit-com had been unfair to her husband, and she described John Cleese as an "utter fool" who had "made millions out of our unhappiness". The Gleneagles Hotel, under new ownership, now runs Fawlty Towers weekends once a month where guests are looked after by actors who play the part of Basil, Sybil and Manuel. Interestingly, John Cleese would later star in Rat Race as a character called Donald Sinclair.
  • John Cleese says in his DVD commentary that Prunella Scales was so unlike the character she played, the harpy Sybil Fawlty, that they had trouble getting the tenderhearted Scales to hit Basil or any other character who incurred Sybil's displeasure hard enough to make it look realistic and were constantly having to do retakes of her scenes.
  • John Cleese (Basil) nearly knocked Andrew Sachs (Manuel) out with a heavy saucepan when the actor made an unexpected move during filming after five days of rehearsals. The hapless actor had a headache for two days.
    Into the Woods [2014]
  • In earlier drafts, the essential Narrator character from the original stage musical was still part of the story. Before the role was written out of the script, many actors were either considered, in talks, or asked to play the role including Jeremy Irons, Christopher Plummer, Geoffrey Rush, James Earl Jones, John Cleese, Michael Caine, Michael Gambon, and Alan Rickman. There were even rumors about giving this role to a female such as Julie Andrews or Angela Lansbury who are both Disney favorites as well as experts on Stephen Sondheim's material.
    Logan [2017]
  • After burying Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Logan's (Hugh Jackman) truck won't start and he beats it with a shovel, while screaming at it. This is very similar to a scene in [Fawlty Towers] where Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) beats his car with a sapling after it fails to start.